CSKA Moscow vs Novokuznetsk
CSKA Moscow continues its three-game home stand Wednesday night against Novokuznetsk.
After not particularly good first half of the season, at the end of which CSKA Moscow was eleven points behind SKA Saint Petersburg, the hosts revived their chances for the top spot in the Western Conference thanks to a strong run of fourteen wins and just one defeat in regulation time in last eighteen rounds (14-0-1-3 55/36).
Although the hosts own the second-best offense in the Western Conference (third-best in the KHL), CSKA’s defense is traditionally the strongest part of this team and this season is not an exception, as the hosts conceded a total of 92 goals in the previous forty-eight rounds and limited their opponents to one or fewer goals in seven of their twelve games since the beginning of December.
Novokuznetsk sits at rock bottom of the Western Conference, with just ten victories from the previous forty-seven rounds (7-3-3-34 75/149), as the guests will try to avoid a season-high ninth consecutive loss after those against Omsk (2-3 SO/home), Dinamo Minsk (0-2/home), Jokerit (3-4/home), Dinamo Riga (0-6/home), Novosibirsk (0-1/home), Podolsk (3-4/home), Yaroslavl (1-2/home) and Dynamo Moscow last Saturday (0-3/home).
It’s almost impossible task actually, given the fact that Novokuznetsk continues to struggle mightily in offense, as the guests were limited to two or fewer goals in seven of their last ten games and failed to score in four or those ten encounters.
On the other hand, the guests are not as helpless in defense as their results suggest, conceding three or fewer goals in six of the previous ten games and more than three goals just twice in their last nine road games.
CSKA Moscow will enter into the game as huge favorite, but considering the styles of play of these two teams, I doubt that we’ll see more than five goals tonight.
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